Number 12/2016

Issue Topic: The elderly, anthropotechnics and the seminar

List of abstracts

Dementia and patients’ advance directives: Selected issues by Patrycja Zurzycka

Dementia disorders, which are a growing problem among today’s aging population, influence the affected patients’ ability to make decisions.

The varied and unpredictable course of dementia makes it impossible to state with any certainty when and to what extent the patients’ autonomy and competence will be diminished.

Patients’ advance directives allow them to extend their will to the point in the future when their current decision-making capacity is no longer viable. These directives are an important component of an overall plan of care, but respecting their contents may raise dilemmas arising from inconsistencies between the previously expressed wishes and more recent directives made by patients with a limited ability to take independent decisions.

The aim of this study is to discuss selected issues related to the functioning of patients’ advance directives in the case of people suffering from dementia.

The social and health situation of elderly women in light of the research to date: An outline of the issues by Elżbieta Kościńska

This article discusses the social and health problems of elderly women in light of the research to date. The author attempts to highlight the problems of these women within the context of elderly male problems and the social settings of the city and countryside. The beginning of the article includes an explanation of the concepts of old age and aging. The author continues by describing the demographic situation of Poland in contrast to other European countries and by focusing on such phenomena as the feminization and singularization of old age. The main body of the article includes a discussion of such selected problems of elderly women as health, economic and nursing issues and violence against older women.

The multi-functional organizational structure of the nursing home and its network of mutual relations: An outline of the issues by Adrian Biela

The demographic situation in Poland and throughout the world compels the representatives of the social sciences and humanities to take a greater interest in the issue of older people living in the post-modern world. This age group demonstrates increasing readiness to participate in social and civic life. What is crucial here is skilled support and education on the aging process and old age. This education must reach not only the beneficiaries of such assistance but also their social environment. Nursing homes should promote a person’s natural (internal) resources. The key task now is integration through seniors’ own participation and engagement. The network of mutual relations in a nursing home and a range of treatment initiatives are the keys to residents’ personal development.

Competitive sports and amateur sports activity by seniors as a sign of a new lifestyle in retirement by Adrian Biela

Sports allow the elderly to add life to their years, accept themselves, accept their position in society as well as restore and improve their bodies’ performance. Some individuals, however, tend to avoid this, in defiance of the stage of life in which they find themselves. As the old Polish proverb states, “A healthy mind in a healthy body”, so seniors should participate in activities that stimulate their bodies to exercise better control over their minds.

Senior citizens who actively participate in sports represent a new lifestyle in retirement, which can be described as multi sports activity. This is marked by self-acceptance while developing their physical fitness, regular activity, discipline, a responsible approach to the body (health), the need for social contact with others like themselves (e.g. through participation in sports events), consistently overcoming the barriers of social consciousness, maintaining a proactive approach in other areas of life (not just sports, but everyday life as well), kindness, joy, optimism and inexhaustible energy reserves and mutual kindness (a lack of unhealthy competition).

Homo immunologicus: The ethical implications of anthropotechnics by Monika Bakalarz

This article presents and analyzes the concept of anthropotechnics in the philosophy of Peter Sloterdijk, enabling the author to develop his own theory of culture. This concept of culture represents a view of symbolic systems as anthropotechnical tools that influence and aim to shape a human being. The article identifies the theory of culture appearing in Sloterdijk’s work based on the genetic method, which is grounded in the concept of anthropotechnics. At the same time, the work focuses on the study of the ethical implications of anthropotechnics appearing in two fields distinguished in the article: objective and subjective. This paper represents a contribution to the study of the origin of humanity. It reveals the controversial nature of Sloterdijk’s theory, which is led by the ideal of a perfectionistic attitude towards life along with the paradoxes (outlined in the work) resulting from this ideal in real-life practice. The final part of the article includes a discussion of Sloterdijk’s philosophical theses and distills the thinker’s ethical stance.

Number 11/2016

Issue Topic: Death, Dying and Grief

List of abstracts

“Doctors of grief ”, or the secular masters of the funeral ceremony offered on the market of ideas by Agata Rejowska-Pasek

The title “doctors of grief” refers to the observation of Philippe Aries. In the late 20th century, he described how religious officials have been replaced in Western society by doctors of grief, meaning the funeral directors and masters of ceremony whose role is to perform grief therapy on the bereaved family. In most Western societies, Christian churches have lost their monopoly on conducting funerals. Although the number of secular ceremonies in Poland is relatively small (approximately 2 to 5 percent of all funeral ceremonies), their presence in a country with such deeply rooted Catholicism, which plays the role of a cultural religion, may be considered evidence of the socio-cultural changes now taking place. As the authority of the religious institutions traditionally responsible for these rites waned, the main reference point for many people became the self. A commercial mechanism arose: the individual preferences of “clients” determine the “product”. With this perspective in mind, this article references the Stark and Bainbridge Religious Market Theory, according to which religions and secular meaning-creating perspectives compete on the market of ideas like companies. The primary aim of this article is to analyze the socio-cultural contexts of the services of these secular masters of ceremony and identify the core and distinctive features that distinguish them from religious funeral ceremonies.

Małgorzata Szumowska’s triptych on dying by Agnieszka Kaczmarek

This article discusses three films by Małgorzata Szumowska on death and dying and their contemporary reception. They include the 2006 documentary A czego tu się bać? [Nothing to Be Scared of], 33 sceny z życia [33 Scenes from Life] (2008) and Body/Ciało (2015). These pictures are linked by the presence of death, which, though expressed using disparate devices of film rhetoric, is still uniformly palpable, even if obscured and hidden. The analysis presented here demands a certain shift in thinking about death: it is not completely eliminated from the social imagination. Death, which is today dismissed and marginalized, also intrigues us, awakens the individual imagination and triggers anxiety along with a simultaneous desire to get closer to it and study its mystery. Such a direction is also noticeable in the work of Szumowska. This is especially true of the three films mentioned previously, which may be analyzed independently of one another. However, presented as a triptych, they point to contemporary means of understanding death, its adaptation and attempts to either grow accustomed to or flee from it.

Franka and Marta: From two different worlds to one end. Female suicide based on the heroines of Eliza Orzeszkowa’s Cham and Marta by Marta Anna Sałapata

This article represents an attempt to examine the literary depiction of suicide. The point of departure for this critical literary and pedagogical analysis will be the stories of two heroines from the work of Eliza Orzeszkowa, who took their own lives in the novels Cham (The Boor) and Marta – namely, the characters Franciszka Chomcówna and Marta Świcka. The article also aims to illustrate Bernard Mandeville’s words: “There are things that a man may have a stronger aversion to than suicide.” Chomcówna cannot find her place in the rural community. She is unable to accept her husband’s true love and forgiveness of her past mistakes. In turn, Świcka is unable to find her place in society after the death of her husband. She fails to find work, and gradually starts “going downhill” along with her sick daughter. Both characters end their lives in tragic circumstances.

Grief and its influence on the understanding of ethics by Monika Bakalarz

This article presents a positive view of grief as a symbolic overcoming of death. This concept of grief juxtaposes death with the dimensions of meaning, time and ethics. At the same time, grief remains characterized as a process that plays out on the plane of the individual psyche, as seen in the work of Sigmund Freud and Melanie Klein. In analyzing these psychoanalytic viewpoints, the assumptions and premises of these theories are compared to show both their limitations and revelatory powers. While Freudian theory depicts grief as a natural reaction to the loss of an object ending with separation from that object, Klein presents the complexities of the inner world of the individual, revealing objects existing inside the psyche in a form embedded in mental (negative and positive) representations, while the task of the individual is to contrast these inner images with the real objects and with the threat of their loss, the latter causing a return to the depressive position of childhood. At the same time, Klein’s concept assumes the possibility of overcoming this depressive position in grief. Here we have a positive view of grief, which has been developed on an anthropological level by Alfonso Maria di Nola, who provided theoretical justification for an attempt at a positive interpretation of the significance of grief as a symbolic victory over death – a view that represents the theme of this article.

The concept of substitution as an expression of the paradox of death: Comments on Emmanuel Levinas’ thought by Marta Szabat

The article aims to depict the consequences of Emmanuel Levinas’ relational understanding of death, considered within the context of substitution, which can be understood in two different dimensions: individual and normative. In the former, the subjectivity surrenders to the Other completely, with no expectation of reciprocity. In the normative realm, however, substitution is the only choice the subjectivity has that would define its identity. The subjectivity only finds this identity in substitution; otherwise, it slips into il y a, losing its form and any possibility of personal development. In substitution, the subjectivity’s identity is shaped via a dynamically developing relationship with that which is other. One form of otherness is death. However, the impossibility of substitution in one’s own death puts the subjectivity in a paradoxical situation: an identity developed in relation to the Other becomes suspended at the moment of personal death, which comes from another ontological order. Death and dying situate the subject’s identity beyond the borders of its own existence.

Number 8/2014

Issue Topic: Dialogue, communication, education

List of abstracts

Different aspects of dialogue by Katarzyna Pelczarska

This article is an introduction to the philosophy of dialogue and communication. In the first part the central focus of discussion is the thought of Martin Buber, the problematic nature of the relation between “I” and “you” as well as the problem of responsibility. The conditions which should be fulfilled by real dialogue are also pointed out. Not every form of expression may be considered as such. Certain varieties of communication may assume the appearance of dialogue while not in fact being dialogue. Next, pedagogical moments of dialogue will be demonstrated along with the principle of partnership between subjects, which makes understanding possible. The article concludes with a presentation of dialogue and communication in the context of humanistic psychology, psychiatry and social economics, human capital and tolerance.

The dialogical phenomenon of conversation and speech by Jarosław Gara

This work, referring to dialogical thought, concentrates on the philosophical category of speech as well as its resulting pedagogical implications. Speech appears here as an opening up of human existence towards that which is outside, and mankind himself as res loquens (listener and speaker), and not res cogitans (a solitary thinker). Taken in this sense, at the centre of the world of the human word there appears an existential drama defined by the reality of the listener and speaker. This is because the experience of human speech always means a need for the subject to play the role of questioner and answerer; the need to utter his or her “yes” or “no”.  Speech is also something which surrounds and pervades human existence, as it is not speech which resides in mankind, but mankind in speech. It is also for this reason that the anthropological formula res loquens should be recognized as a fundamental pedagogical category. For in its deepest sense, pedagogical influence refers us above all to the dialogical phenomenon of speech – speaking to others and answering others.

(Dia)logical measures of things and things made to (dia)logical measure by Jarosław Gara

The problem formulated in the title is expressed in the author’s attempt to get closer to the specific “movement of thought” which would provide a clue as to what dialogue as a unique existential foundation manifests itself in and what neutralizes it or, rather, what is its complete opposite. Dialogue carries with it its own form of perception and understanding of the sense of what is one’s own and foreign, internal and external; this is a logic of the order of interpersonal states of things as well as of the dependencies and connections arising between them, which by this same measure underscore the possibility of possessing oneself (one’s own individuality), as well as of going beyond oneself towards others (readiness to act for others’ sake and in the name of/as a substitute for others). In this sense, it is possible to differentiate basic types of subjective representations (representation of oneself and representation of others) as well as their qualitative dimensions. Meanwhile, through examining the dialogical problem of forms of representation, one may point out various specific forms of correctness, peculiar algorithms of the world of human affairs and their accompanying relationships as well as specific examples describing the dialogical space of intersubjective relations.

Communication in the work of a physiotherapist by Agnieszka Dziekan

The article deals with communication in the work of a physiotherapist. First, the question of communication as such is presented. Such aspects of communication have been singled out as: the speaker, the listener, code, interaction and others. In the communicative process, the role of imagination, outlook, exaggerations, thought patterns, etc. which have an influence on the quality of communication have all been highlighted. In the article, two basic aspects of communication are also considered: verbal and non-verbal. Next, the following problems are taken up: ethno-cultural principles in communication, the role of autonomy in the patient-physiotherapist relationship, the patient’s attitude towards physiotherapy and to his or her own illness as well as the physiotherapist’s attitude towards the patient as a member of medical personnel.  In further parts of the article, communication is discussed — as the title suggests — as a therapeutic tool in work with the patient. The article concludes with an enumeration and discussion of the most important barriers to and errors in communication.

Selected methods of communication in physiotherapy by Agnieszka Dziekan

The article concerns selected methods of communication of the physiotherapist with the patient. Discussed first are such characteristics of communication as: the speaker, message, channel, listener, interference, context and feedback. Next, features of the communication process which depend upon the communicative situation are discussed; that is: intentionality, relationality, awareness, interpretative quality, irreversibility, dynamism, creativity, transactional quality and inevitability. The next part of the article is devoted to a discussion of methods of communication in physiotherapy, such as: the interview, touch and vocal intonation. The article concludes with some notes for physiotherapists which may prove useful in perfecting communicative skills in patient relations.

Doctor-patient dialogue on suffering in the context of contemporary cultural challenges by Jolanta Świerszcz

Dialogue is an essential means of establishing appropriate contact between the doctor and patient. Professional ethics and the deeply-developed sense of empathy that goes alongside them allow the doctor to go beyond “invisible barriers” and enter a deeper sphere of human existence – the sphere of the soul, which is the principle space of dialogue in the mystery of suffering, dying and death.

In the dehumanizing process of modern medicine, it is typical for the doctor and not the sick patient to decide the role of illness and suffering, though it should be the reverse. The patient is brought down to the level of an object, to a unit of illness which must be diagnosed, treated and in such a way allowing the doctor to notch up another potential success.

Dialogue or the isolation of the ill, suffering and dying person are the real test of not only the medical ethos, but also of humanity and culture built by mankind (including the ill and dying), broadly understood. Only a personally detailed and soulful dialogue on hope and the meaning of suffering provides a chance for affirmation of the art of healing in the doctor-patient relationship.

Searching for the ideal of the doctor in his or her behaviour towards a dying person, it is necessary to point out the existence of an absolute ethical standard, unchanged for centuries and concerning not only doctors, but every human being. This is why the doctor’s ability to enter into personalistic dialogue, which brings the dying patient into a world of transcendental, and thus unbreakable values, opening a new horizon in front of him or her of the new prospect of an eternal dimension of life makes, at this critical and at the same time decisive moment, his or her life possible, and allows him or her to achieve hope and faith. This is not only about religious faith, but also (and perhaps first and foremost) faith in mankind, the belief that one is not left alone, and for everything which is ill, in the overwhelming suffering which he or she experiences there is a deep meaning not only for the ill person, but also for the people surrounding him or her, including the doctor himself.

Personalistic medical ethics are able to ensure authentic dialogue between the doctor and patient. The current crisis of humanity, values and interpersonal dialogue inclines us even more to accept the personalistic model of dialogue in medicine.

Education from the perspective of living abroad by Maria Jagiełło

This article is concerned with educational problems of those who have immigrated to Great Britain. It begins with a discussion of the issues related to bilingualism and adaptation to new educational conditions. Next, an attempt is made to understand the essential elements of the British model of education, which contrasts theoretical and practical skills, and some attention is paid to the individual aspect of teaching and learning. The article concludes with a closer look at the structure of the English educational system.

Number 7/2014

Issue Topic: The lie, ethics of care, death

List of abstracts

On the educational lie by Antonina Sebesta

The article describes the educational lie on the basis of research findings of the philosophers of the 20th century (Hannah Arendt, Józef Tischner). It also presents notes by the author concerning the lie’s probable origin. The consequences of the educational lie are long-term, and concern the individual and the whole society. It causes the erosion of citizens’ trust of themselves and the state, which distorts the functioning of important institutions. A diploma which is not supported by knowledge gives rise to complexes, aggression, pathology, and feelings of superfluousness.

The lie and the good by Janusz Majcherek

The relationship between truth and the good is not so simple as to say that truth is always good. And then, consequently, a lie is not always bad. If lying could sometimes be good, this raises the issue of indicating and characterizing circumstances in which lies are ethically permitted or even desired. According to general ethical principles, all human behavior is right if its purpose is to maximize good or minimize evil. Such an ethical function of lies is possible only if the general rule is truthfulness, and lying is merely an exception (if telling lies becomes a rule, we will face the paradox of a liar). This does not mean that it is impossible to indicate and formulate a universal way of justifying lies as benevolent. Universalizing, as R.M.Hare has presented, is different from generalizing. Exceptional does not mean and is not the same as accidental or arbitrary. Truth-telling ought to remain the general principle, and lying may be ethically justified by universalizing circumstances in which it is good or right, even if such circumstances are exceptional.

Ethical dimensions of the lie by Monika Bakalarz

The goal of this article is to show that a lie cannot exist without normative principles of truthfulness as its opposite. Moreover, the ethical dimensions of the lie mentioned in the title would be impossible to determine if it weren’t for this reference. In this article we first specify the nature of the lie and its relation to truth and truthfulness. Next, we show the ethical dimensions of the lie, such as the opposition between the lie and truthfulness, allowing for an understanding of the values of truthfulness, defensive lies and lies contained in artistic creation (fiction). In this last dimension of the lie, many times the artist or thinker reveals more truth than common social discourse is able to tolerate.

The lie is a complex phenomenon, ambiguous and dependent upon many factors, such as motivation, social sensitivity and situational context. Despite the fact that it stands in opposition to truth and truthfulness, it remains, however, related to both values.

Ingarden on truth and literature by Jan Piasecki

The article analyses Ingarden’s conception of truth in literature. According to Ingarden, a literary work of art consists of so-called quasi-judgments that are neither true nor false, and their main function is to create an intentional world. But there is the problem of how to distinguish quasi-judgments from ordinary judgments. According to Ingarden, we can distinguish quasi-judgments by recognizing their content and form. In other words, quasi-judgments have a distinct and specific quality that can be grasped by the reader. Consequently, although truthfulness can be considered as an aesthetic category, in Ingarden’s approach it cannot be understood in terms of adequacy between a judgment and reality. Truthfulness, according to Ingarden, has an ontological character instead, which means that the intentional world created within the work of art replaces the real world completely and it absorbs the reader’s full attention.

Radical relationality. Epistemology in care and care ethics for research by Jeannette Pols

This paper describes the approach of empirical ethics, a form of ethics that integrates non-positivist ethnographic empirical research and philosophy. Empirical ethics as it is discussed here builds on the ‘empirical turn’ in epistemology. It radicalizes the relational approach that care ethics introduced to think about care between people by drawing in relations between people and technologies as things people relate to. Empirical ethics studies care practices by analysing their intra-normativity, or the ways of living together the actors within these practices strive for or bring about as good practices. Different from care ethics, what care is and if it is good is not defined beforehand. A care practice may be contested by comparing it to alternative practices with different notions of good care. By contrasting practices as different ways of living together that are normatively oriented, suggestions for the best possible care may be argued for. Whether these suggestions will actually be put to practice is, however, again a relational question; new actors need to re-localize suggestions, to make them work in new practices and fit them in with local intra-normativities with their particular routines, material infrastructures, know-how and strivings.

Do we decide our death? by Małgorzata Jantos

This article aims to consider the question posed in the title on the possibility of deciding the method and time of our own death in contemporary times. Firstly, problems related to artificial extension of human life in situations of incurable disease and in the face of an aging society will be considered. The issues discussed include access to euthanasia as well as the limits of human autonomy in the context of the decision to hasten death, with particular consideration of persistent and futile treatment. Second, the issues of aging are developed against the background of various cultures and eras. The text concludes with some considerations on the possibility of using a living will and advance directives.

Number 6/2013

Issue Topic: Lacan, Shechita and The Myths of (Post)Modern Europe

List of abstracts

Lacanian theory and its uses in the psychoanalytic process by Alina Henzel-Korzeniowska

The theory created by Jacques Lacan, with solid roots in Freud’s thinking, is a valuable and necessary guide for the practice of psychoanalysis. Admittedly, Lacan’s texts give the impression of being an inaccessible, dense and difficult-to-master conceptual network, but when one begins the process of studying it, in place of this discouraging impression there arrives a desire for knowledge that will lead to the rules of conduct towards the subject, who comes to a session in order to say what is possible and wrestle with what cannot be said. Theoretical knowledge is also a guide for the formation of the psycholanalyst, who undergoes his own analysis up to the very end (the Pass procedure).

The subject of the following article will be a series of digressions from a practical perspective on such questions as: the transferential relationship and the psychoanalysts’ fight against transference, the desire of the subject for the Other, respect for the symptom jouissance, the game of the imaginary, symbolic and real registers, the make-up of a phantasm. These phenomena that arise in psychoanalysis are useful for the analyst only so far as he is able to place himself in the position of the Other. This allows him to conduct psychoanalytic discourse in which the analyst and the analyzed are unaware that they are indispensable partners to one another.

On sublimation in Lacan: a few remarks by Paul Moyaert

Sublimation creates a change in perspective through the use of an attractive object (e.g. cans of sardines). It transforms the imaginary relationship in relation to our ego with a relationship in which we are momentarily called out of and torn away from the imaginary circuit. Thanks to the attractive object, we look at ourselves sub specie aeternitatis. In contemplation, we share the point of view of eternity, from which we see ourselves as nothingness. However, the discovery of this nothing is at the same time removed from personal emotion and meaning, which belong to the imaginary circuit. In the imaginary order, this “nothing” of my desire does not leave me indifferent; it triggers various effects of sense (revolt, lamentation, cursing of life, strengthening of the narcissistic ego, etc.). Yet, together with sublimation, the effects of sense become neutralized, split up, immobilized. It is a moment of peace. Our life means nothing, but this fact that it means nothing is not in itself entirely nothing. We are removed from everything; we take part in the sovereign indifference of the world that surrounds us. Sublimation brings us into contact with the Thing, cleansed and emptied of all sense.

(excerpt)

The genuine subject in psychoanalytical experience according to Jacques Lacan by Anna Turczyn

In this article I attempt to trace the first stage of Lacanian theory regarding the subject in psychoanalysis. Working from the canonical text dedicated to the so-called “mirror stage”, I call attention to the phenomenological mediation of understanding of the subject by Lacan. The decisive experience is the identification of oneself with an entire and complete vision of one’s own ego – according to Lacan, this boils down to recognizing one’s own reflection in the mirror ­– which becomes the basis for all later identification. The essence of this experience, however, is that it reveals not the “real” face of the subject, but the awareness of the fictitiousness of this face. Nevertheless, this is a necessary fiction, and a condition for all human acts of cognition. Referencing Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of perception, I demonstrate how Lacan, taking a similar path, stepped outside the realm of traditional phenomenology. The subject ceased to be a transparent, self-supporting ego of perception, because – as the experience of psychoanalysis shows – it is entangled from the very beginning in the web of language.

This radical “weakening” of perception and of the Cartesian Cogito brings Lacan to the conclusion that an act of cognition, and consequently the entire system of human knowledge, is unable from the start to give any truth about the subject. This is because truth is not revealed in the undisturbed, pure realm of perception of cogito ergo sum. Difficult and complicated investigation into the truth of the subject brings one to the experience of psychoanalysis and its inconclusive character.

Finally, I show how Lacan, delving into the well-known Freudian thesis wo Es war, soll Ich warden, relocates the subject of psychoanalysis in the structure of speech. In other words, I will connect the entire range of possible interpretations of the subject with speaking and speech. It is in the structure of speech, and only through this structure that the subject’s ego can appear in language.

Freud, Lacan and the dilemmas of psychoanalysis by Bogna Choińska

In this article I present various answers to the questions generated by psychoanalytical thought, which are sometimes quite contrary to each other. Besides describing concepts formulated by the father of psychoanalysis, I focus above all on Lacan’s ideas. It turns out that on many fundamental issues the positions of both thinkers are very different. It seems to me quite interesting to present and to compare these issues.

Shechita. A study of the origins, practice and transspecies ethics of killing by Ewa Nowak

Judaism’s dietary rules |kashrut| are deeply rooted in the Torah. Shechita, as a traditional method of slaughtering, does not provide for the stunning of animals. The animals’ suffering evokes moral criticism within modern societies worldwide. This paper examines the procedure of shechita in its religious, biological, technological, and philosophical aspects.

Finally, two problems are highlighted. The first is a cognitive problem concerning stunning. Does shechita truly contain stunning as a natural or ‚integral’ element, as some documents claim? Or, by contrast, should Jewish communities follow European conventions, i.e. accept stunning as an additional element of the shechita procedure? Both options are examined here. Secondly, the animal’s protection against suffering prevails morally. However, Jewish tradition has always paid extraordinary attention to life and living beings. So it is still difficult to find strong arguments to convince Jewish communities to modernize the shechita procedure. The entire discussion remains open.

Teaching the word through the word by Janusz Maj

The seminar The Myths of (Post)Modern Europe as an educational model applied in Autorskie Licea Artystyczne i Akademickie [Authorial Artistic and Academic Secondary Schools] in Wrocław

The seminar entitled The Myths of (Post)Modern Europe is a narrative defined by the themes proper to modern society, such as identity, recognition and respect for the other. The principal educational objective of the seminar is to describe the situation of a man in a pluralistic society, and particularly to develop reflective and critical thinking. The phrasing ‘teaching the word through the word’ defines the didactic method used in the seminar, which is conversation informed by the philosophy of dialogue and Socratic dialogue.

Number 5/2013

Issue Topic: Philosophy of Death and Dying

List of abstracts

Thanatology as a field of humanistic knowledge by Anna E. Kubiak

Inspirations to the development of thanatology as a separate field were cultural anthropology. A classic work, to which many researchers still refer is Robert Hertz Death and the Left Hand. Also the concept of rites de passage, van Gennep’s threefold structure of the ceremonies, is cited not only by anthropologists. The project of anthropothanatology was outlined by Thomas. French scientists have made the largest contribution to the early development of thanatology. They were first and foremost historians and philosophers. Now, though, French researchers such as Foucault, Baudrillard, Bataille and Kristeva are constantly present in the field, its leaders are English scholars. The main spheres of research in death studies are: funeral rituals, death in the context of the beliefs and religious practices, forms of mourning, memory and commemorate, death units in collective and public space, death in the media, dead bodies, bio-ethics. The author also follows the development of the Polish thanatology and characterizes the main concepts and methods.

Philosophical and Lingusitic Inquiry into the Classical Meaning of "Euthanasia" by Jan Wawrzyniak

The considerations are dealing with the issue of classical comprehension of the notion euthanasiain the ancient – Greek and Roman – times. Making use of source texts, all documented cases of the usage of the term euthanasia in the classical period are reconstructed and interpreted. The searching perspective of philosophical-axiolinguistic analysis was applied. The context of the undertaken considerations is the state of the present bioethical debate on the moral as well as legal status of an act/procedure called „euthanasia”. The axiosemantic  anarchism in the common understanding  of  the notion being considered seems to be a striking and destructive factor which is paralyzing any accurate discussion on the really existing dilemma of euthanasia within the heritage of Mediterranean  culture. The article is aimed at the clarification of the socially influential meanings of the term euthanasia, including the historical periodization of their changes and the suggestion of  return to the classical spectrum of  understanding of „good death” or „well-dying”, within which the best possible way of dying,  recognized as such in a given culture, is consciously chosen (or at least happily experienced by chance) by a dying beneficiary who is actualizing his/her human personal dignity this way at the same time.

Euthanasia or palliative medicine? Notes on Thomas More’s Utopia by Ireneusz Ziemiński

In the article the author presents a philosophical interpretation of Thomas More The Utopia, in which More argues for the right to euthanasia. According to More euthanasia is a legal right for people, who cannot stand their suffering and whose illness is irrevocable according to the physicians. In such situations a State Committee agrees for the unpainful death. However, if the person refuses death, he/she must be treated as cheerful as before. This means, that according to More there is no contradiction between the right to euthanasia and the right to palliative medicine. Every ill person has the right to death or to treatment in their suffering; euthanasia against the will of the ill person is strictly forbidden in every case.

The living will in Poland by Patrycja Zurzycka

The first part introduces the topic of the living will viewed as a legal, ethical and social problem. It also treats of the connection between the community and the state as well as  bioethics and medicine. The next part discusses broadly the notions relevant to both understanding and explanation of the issues connected with the living will.

The issues are presented from the perspective of Polish as well as foreign authors. What is more, the distinction between the institution of living will and the group of documents called “advance directives” has also been made.

The following part concentrates on the presentation of problems connected with the legal bases of the living will present in the international legislation taking codification operating in the European Union into consideration. The following legal acts were chosen to the analysis: General Declaration of Human Rights in UN, the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights, Declaration of Patient Rights WHO, Convention about the Protection of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, Convention about the Protection of Human and Human Creature’s Dignity applying to Biology and Medicine resolved by the European Council, Recommendations 779 and 1418 as well as Resolution 613 resolved by Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council and also by the European Union Card of Basic Rights.

The legal bases of the living will in Poland are presented in the next chapter. These bases result from the patient rights included, for instance, in: the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, the Act of Doctor’s Occupation and the Dentist’s Doctor, the Act of the Nurse and Midwife’s Occupations, the Act of Health Care Centers, Civil Code, and also the Code of Medical Ethics and Code of Processional Ethics of Polish Nurse and Midwife.

Social foundations of living will implementation in Poland by Patrycja Zurzycka

The thesis presents social foundations of implementation of the living will in Poland. It also contains a survey concerning the opinions about the living will gathered among varied age groups.

First, methodological research has been presented, its aims, problems and research hypotheses. The applied method is also discussed here. Furthermore, it contains analysis and the interpretation of the survey results concerning public opinion on the living will. On the basis of achieved information some conditions have been identified which, according to the surveyed, should be fulfilled in order that the living will could be force in Poland. It also shows the conditions that may have an influence on the attitudes of the society with reference to the document of living will in Poland.

“I don’t want to and I don’t have to” – some remarks on the ethical repercussions of teacher avoidance of children’s questions by Marta Anna Sałapata

Banal as it may sound, we will be pondering over death until the end of our lives. For the same amount of time, the responsibility for bringing new generations into the surrounding world will also rest on adults. Working with children cannot simply be a matter of improvisation and learning from experience. These may make up an element of professional development, but the basics of vocational experience – including the ability to hold a discussion and provide support in difficult situations – should be learnt by students as part of their vocational training. Here thanatopedagogy (death pedagogy) may help, as it has, among others, the task of helping teachers work with students when the latter are in mourning. Of course, in this situation there is no clear, ready recipe or point-by-point scenario to be followed. Dealing with loss, powerlessness, and suffering is a difficult art, especially since there seems to be no place in academic training for the cultivation of traits such as tolerance of frustration, awareness of one’s helplessness, unreciprocated relationships or the incompatibility of the role of teacher with other roles.

We require from our students conspectuses written according to general methodological principles. However, we forget to mention that the child with whom they will be working will not be an ideal student, a textbook example who always knows everything and how to do everything, who can construct, classify and put things into practice. Rather, this is a living child, who quite often doesn’t want to, doesn’t feel like it, cries, rebels, hurls insults, always has to go “pee-pee”, and outside in the sandbox throws sand in other children’s eyes… This is a child who feels, goes through experiences and very often asks “uncomfortable” questions which perhaps had not been foreseen in the conspectus, such as those about sex or death… And among this multitude of lists and classifications of qualifications it is often forgotten that a teacher – a full-grown person – must work with a small one not yet fully grown, and that his or her main goal is simply to teach the little one how to think… However, to achieve this one needs a readiness to provide wise, genuine and thoughtful answers to each and every question posed by a child.

tr. by Aniela Elizabeth Pramik